FanDuel Week 5 Lineup: If there’s one thing we’ve noticed over the first four weeks of the season, it’s that everyone is throwing the ball a whole lot more. Given the strict officiating, quarterbacks are now being protected more than ever. The NFL has made a clear choice to try and boost viewership by projecting high scoring affairs. It proves great for fantasy purposes, but changes the structure of the DFS landscape. I now believe that you must flex a WR and chase an extra ceiling each and every week. Each week so far we’ve seen a handful of WR2’s posting 20+ point games. Unless there are a lot of high upside RB’s that provide good salary value, you need to consider maximizing your lineup potential by flexing an additional WR.
FanDuel Week 5 Lineup
QB – Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. ATL – ($8,400)
The Steelers-Falcons game has crazy potential (arguably the most of any slate this season). Coming in at a 57-point total, Big Ben gets a very alluring matchup at home. The last time Ben Roethlisberger was at home in a plus matchup, he torched the Chiefs for 452 yards / 4 TDs. His matchup may be even better now given the Falcons defensive injuries. The Falcons have already lost starting defensive tackle Grady Jarrett for this week. Here’s their list of confirmed inactive defensive starters: Keanu Neal (S) / Ricardo Allen (S) / Deion Jones (LB) / Grady Jarrett (DT). With lack of talent becoming a clear issue, Atlanta has now surrendered the following stat lines to opposing quarterbacks.
Andy Dalton (Week 4): 337 yards / 3 TDs
Drew Brees (Week 3): 396 yards / 3 TDs
Cam Newton (Week 2): 335 yards / 3 TDs
That’s pretty much all you have to read to consider Roethlisberger a lock for 350 yards / 3 TDs. Considering Roethlisberger’s historic home / away game splits, along with the highest implied total of the week at 57 Points, it’s almost impossible not to make Roethlisberger a must start. You’ll want several team/game stacks of all the important Steelers with one or two Falcons to run it back with.
RB – Melvin Gordon (LAC) vs. OAK – ($8,700)
In the second highest total of the week at 53.5 points, the Raiders-Chargers game provides a nice pivot from the Steelers-Falcons game. Melvin Gordon has continued to prove excellent, scoring 5 TDs in four games. His increased usage in the passing game this year has allowed him to bolster 8.5 targets per game. With an additional 13.5 rushes per game, he’s seeing 22 total touches per contest. Factoring in his red zone production, he’s easily the most valuable fantasy player on the Chargers. In what is considered a true smash spot for Gordon, his ceiling is arguably higher than that of Todd Gurley. At home, in a high-scoring affair, facing a Raiders defense that ranks 28th against the run, Gordon looks to a ceiling of 150+ total yards and 2-3 TDs.
RB – Dion Lewis (TEN) at BUF – ($5,700)
Contrary to this year’s optimal lineup strategy, I decided to pay up at WR this week. With the Steelers in such a ridiculously good spot, I had to punt at RB2. I don’t love Dion Lewis this week, but I do love that he out-snapped Derrick Henry 48 to 28 last week and continues to be a key piece in the Titans passing game. He holds an 18 percent target share. Running backs have done very well against the Bills and I do expect Lewis to see 5+ targets with an additional 8-10 carries. In playing him, we’re really just hoping that Lewis finds the end zone and collects up to 100 yards, but his ceiling is kind of capped at that level. I expect to make most of my points in other spots within this lineup.
WR – Antonio Brown (PIT) vs. ATL – ($9,000)
I’ll keep this one short. AB has seen a 29 percent target share. He’s scored in 3 of 4 games. He’s in the highest projected shootout of the week at 57 points. He’s facing a Falcons secondary that is missing both Ricardo Allen (S) and Keanu Neal (S). The Falcons are also missing Deion Jones (LB) over the middle of the field. He gets a home matchup. And he’s Antonio Brown. It’s hard to envision him getting anything less than 25 points.
WR – JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) vs. ATL – ($8,000)
A few weeks back, I spoke about the consolidation of points and how ideally, we want to roster a QB/WR/WR team stack. The statistics have shown that this kind of stack yields far greater leverage against the field in comparison to a QB/WR or QB/WR/TE team stack. Ironically enough, the week I spoke about consolidating your points was right after Big Ben let us down and threw touchdown passes to Jesse James and James Washington. Team stacks don’t always work out perfectly, but I attribute those results more towards variance than anything else. Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster have combined for a league high 55.1 percent target share between the WR1 and WR2 position. They have the greatest consolidation of targets as both boast 28.6 percent and 26.5 percent of the Steelers looks. Atlanta has a key weakness among slot WRs, and now faces Smith-Schuster who has 326 receiving yards from the slot (most in the NFL).
WR – Dede Westbrook (JAX) at KC – ($5,900)
Read my Week 5 target forecast article for more information on Dede Westbrook’s situation.
In a likely shootout with the Chiefs, while missing Leonard Fournette, Blake Bortles will air it out and be forced to throw a ton. One of the three Jacksonville receivers will likely have a great game. The only challenge here is figuring out which one that will be. This week, my odds are on Westbrook as the Chiefs secondary has a severe deficiency over the middle of the field. This bodes well for Westbrook as he lines up in the slot and sees most of his targets from here. Westbrook has seen the most targets and receiving yards among Jaguars receivers, so that should give us a vote of confidence. In order to rank high in GPP’s, you have to make tough calls and predict the cheaper WRs who return amazing value. This week, I see a lot of merit in trying to do so with a Jaguars receiver.
TE – Vance McDonald (PIT) vs. ATL – ($4,600)
Vance McDonald has seen 5 targets in each of his last three games and gets exposure to the best game environment of the week. It is a bit risky pairing him with AB and JuJu, as this game truly has to go off for all three to return great value, but a few times each year, a QB will throw for 400+ passing yards and 5-6 TD’s. If there was ever an opportunity to do so, I think it’s now for Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Given the choice to either pay up for Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz, or completely punt the position, this is a likely play regardless of who you roster at QB or WR.
FLEX – Mohamed Sanu (ATL) at PIT – ($5,600)
Each week, there are at least one or two secondary receivers that produce great results from high-scoring games. Last week, it was Taylor Gabriel (CHI) whole stole the show and left an indent in Allen Robinson’s production. With Julio Jones yet to find the end zone and Calvin Ridley yet to play even ⅔ of the Falcons offensive snaps, I actually really like Mohamed Sanu in this spot. Ridley is due for a large regression given his ridiculous TD rate and Jones simply doesn’t score touchdowns. Sanu leads the team in snaps played among WRs and has seen 7 and 9 targets in each of his last two games. He actually does have the ability to score multiple touchdowns and with Matt Ryan airing it out, Sanu has sneaky upside in an extremely high-scoring affair. He’s my favorite pivot off of Jones in this game.
DEF – Titans (TEN) at BUF – ($3,900)
Playing a DEF against the Bills is actually becoming a legitimate fantasy strategy. This game has dud written all over it. The Bills are a disaster. Josh Allen has dropped back to pass and been sacked 18 times already. With the Bills inability to avoid pressure and execute first downs, there’s little to suggest that Marcus Mariota will need to put the ball in the air another 43 times. With the Titans running the ball 48 percent of the time, I’d expect another low-scoring affair, as Vegas projects this game to hit a mere 39 points.
(BONUS) DEF – Bengals (CIN) vs. MIA – ($3,900)
Playing a good defense against the Dolphins may also become a trend when considering the Dolphins dull pace of play. Right now, they’re averaging just 50 plays per game, while the league average is 64. The Bengals defense is average in both passing and rushing statistics, however, their offense is of somewhat elite nature. At home, with Joe Mixon now practicing and preparing to suit up, the Bengals will look to control the tempo of this game and get back to running the football. The Bengals DEF is a fine pivot off a chalky Titans DEF at the same price, as they get a home matchup, against a slow paced team.